Byline: Derek Hawkins
WI Court of Appeals District IV
Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Michael J. Scott, et al.
Case No.: 2017AP1345
Officials: Lundsten, P.J., Sherman, and Blanchard, JJ.
Focus: 4th Amendment Violation
The State of Wisconsin appeals the circuit court's summary judgment order dismissing the State's civil forfeiture complaint naming Michael Scott, Lori Scott, one car, one pickup, one all-terrain vehicle, two personal watercraft, cash, and marijuana. The State seeks a judgment awarding the non-drug property to the State. Police seized the property from in or around the Scotts' residence during the execution of a search warrant as part of a criminal investigation. The State pursued criminal cases against the Scotts and, separately, this forfeiture action based on WIS. STAT. 961.55 and 961.555 (2015-16). These statutes create a process for civil forfeiture of property that has allegedly been used in violation of, or derived from violations of, Chapter 961 of the Wisconsin Statutes, the Controlled Substances Act.
In the criminal cases, the circuit court excluded all of the evidence seized by the State based on a determination that the State violated the Fourth Amendment in obtaining the search warrant, based on a lack of probable cause in the warrant affidavit. In this forfeiture action, the Scotts moved for summary judgment based on the Fourth Amendment violation in the criminal cases. The court granted the summary judgment motion, based on a determination that all of the seized evidence must be excluded at trial under One 1958 Plymouth Sedan v. Pennsylvania, 380 U.S. 693 (1965) (Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule applies to state civil forfeiture proceedings that are of a "quasi-criminal nature").
The State argues that we should "decline to extend" Plymouth Sedan to civil forfeiture actions, such as this one, that are brought under WIS. STAT. 961.55 and 961.555. We disagree. As we explain below, the exclusionary rule applies...